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Editor's Note: Hallelujah for new guidelines
March 05, 2011
Big news always breaks while the editor is out of the office — it’s Murphy’s Law in the publishing world. I was at the Seafood Summit in Vancouver last month listening to a rather bleak outlook on the world’s bluefin tuna stocks when I heard that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services had finally updated the federal Dietary Guidelines. Here’s the hallelujah moment that’s worth repeating — the guidelines actually recommend that Americans increase their seafood consumption to twice a week.
This is some of the best news that the industry has received in decades (see News Recap in our print copy, p. 12). The advice in the guidelines supports all of the scientists and nutritionists who have called on the government to consider the many studies done on the role that omega-3 fatty acids play in reducing a host of health ailments. The specific advice: “Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.” The guidelines even go on to recommend a strategy of “eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week.”
It seems the committee charged with updating the guidelines staged a political coup: Considering the lobbying and money involved, I never would have thought that seafood would get dietary billing over meat. Enough second-guessing on how the recommendations got where they did — the scientific community has done its part, now it’s up to the seafood industry to do something with the information (i.e., market it!). Budgets may be lean, but now is the time for a national seafood marketing council to take the ball and run.
Maybe if I take another trip the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s joint seafood-consumption advisory will be updated as well? That’s at least worth a trip around the world to see if Murphy’s Law can be tested again.